Making Your First Marketing HireThe Marketing Mindset Podcast

This is an interview I did with Mariya Bentz about making your first marketing hire on The Marketing Mindset Podcast.


What are the best tools to use when making your first marketing hire a success?

In this interview, I share my thoughts with Mariya Bentz from The Marketing Mindset Podcast on how making your first marketing hire can be the make or break of your business. During this discussion, we covered:

  • Tips for your first marketing hire
  • How marketing affects the whole business
  • Working together
  • What the future of marketing hires look like


“Now, people get really scared about this. Oh, but now my addressable market, you know, I cut my addressable market by 97 percent. Exactly. But what if you owned that three percent of the market? That’s yours.” – Mark Donnigan

“I’m like looking back on my own business journey and what I’ve gone through like I said, I started with marketing. And then when I started doing my own thing, I kind of was doing all things marketing then quickly realized, I want to be known and become an expert in something. I need to do just one thing.” – Mariya Bentz

“Images are crucial. We all know that. So then you need to have somebody who’s a video creator. It’s like a video artist because today you have to tell stories through video.” – Mark Donnigan

“At the end of the day, it was such a blessing to niche down because then we became known as the website experts. You know, we got so many more referrals because we were immediately thought of. ” – Mariya Bentz

“Your message in terms of how you talk to the market is simpler. I mean, it really simplifies your life. And then, it’s in simplicity that revenue can scale. In complexity, revenue can never scale.” – Mark Donnigan


[00:00:10.415] – Mariya Bentz

Hey, guys. Welcome back to another episode of The Marketing Mindset Podcast, where we believe that in order to grow a successful business, you need just two things. The right marketing strategies and the right mindset. I’m your host, Mariya Bentz, and I’m the founder of MBM Agency, a digital marketing company who helps service based businesses grow their revenue using online strategies. And I am here to share with you all of my tips and pointers every single week when it comes to digital marketing and business growth. All right, guys. Welcome back to the show. Super excited to chat with Mark Donnigan today. Today’s guest, he designs and execute marketing playbooks that produce real-life business results for early and growth stage technology startup companies. With his 20 years of experience as a transformative B2B and enterprise marketing and business leader. Mark understands how to succeed in today’s winner takes all market. So welcome to the show, Mark.

[00:01:13.005] – Mark Donnigan

It’s great to be here, Maria. Thank you.

[00:01:15.495] – Mariya Bentz

Yeah, of course. I’m super excited to chat today about marketing kind of making the first hire in people’s companies. But before we get into those juicy topics, tell me about your own entrepreneurial journey and how did you get to where you are today?

[00:01:29.805] – Mark Donnigan

Sure. So I came up through sales. I just really you know, I have this mix of kind of left brain, right brain. I’m a logical person, but I’m also a musician. I’m a creative. So as my career progressed in sales and as I began to get into more positions of leadership, et cetera, along the way, I just naturally found that I was in the early days, I was sort of taking control of marketing just for my own benefit. So just being an individual contributor, sales person, you’re trying to do everything you can to, you know, not only make your number, but maximize your production. Right. So I didn’t really think about it as, hey, I’m I’m exercising or I’m learning, you know, about marketing, exercising, marketing muscle, so to speak. But as my career progressed and of course, often what does happen is the sales head, the revenue head either takes on in a dotted line, like a matrix fashion responsibility for marketing or it is a sales and marketing role. So, you know, just as that happened over the years, I found that I just was increasingly sort of migrating over to marketing. And, you know, here I am. Now, what’s interesting about that is that I am probably one of the most revenue centric. I approach everything first from revenue. I don’t talk about campaigns. I don’t like to think in terms of real traditional, classic sort of marketing structures. Everything for me comes back to revenue. Now, interestingly enough, maybe maybe even just five years ago in certain context, that was a little bit of a fish out of water to be a marketing person and always like defaulting to kind of a revenue outcome because it’s like, hey, you know. Yeah, core sales, that’s kind of their thing. But our thing we’re marketing right? Today in 2020, and as we’re staring down 2021, if a marketing, whether it’s a single person working for a small company or a large team, if the marketing function is not thinking revenue, they are really not performing for the business. And I would argue and I’ve certainly observed that if if there’s a marketing head, so CMO, VP, marketing director, marketing, whatever the title is, who is still sort of defaulting to the you know, we’re marketing and it’s sales’ job to produce the number. Their days might be numbered in particular, at least in that particular company in that role, because the you know, the the executives, the founders, the owners of the businesses that we work for need us to be thinking revenue first. And that is our job as marketers.

[00:04:30.055] – Mariya Bentz

Yeah, I love that. I agree with you. I think sales and marketing really goes hand in hand. And I’m I am surprised I’ve seen that too, where a lot of marketing, they don’t focus on the sales, but essentially that is also what I think is part of the job, right?

[00:04:43.345] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah, yeah. You know, there’s a very well-known CMO in the circles that I run in, you know, in Silicon Valley in technology. And, you know, he has a saying, you know, it’s the ring the dang cash register. You know, like at the end of the day, we need to be ringing the cash register. And if we’re doing that, you know, not only is it going to be good for us in terms of of our own career and job security, et cetera, but but it’s good for the business and and that’s how you become indispensable. So and I think this is a great link to the the topic.

[00:05:21.795] – Mariya Bentz


[00:05:22.485] – Mark Donnigan

Well, how well, how do you hire, you know, your first marketing person? Or maybe you have someone kind of part time now or someone on the team who’s, you know, sort of sharing, sharing the duties. But now you’re saying, hey, we really need to focus on this, we want to focus on this. So now, what do I do?

[00:05:41.295] – Mariya Bentz

Yeah, I would love to hear your thoughts because I immediately, was thinking, as you were talking, I think at least from my experience and when I worked with other companies, I started in marketing. I now just do website design, just so you know my background a little bit. But I remember even when I first started in marketing, I worked with a small business, yeah a small business. And I mean, the reason they started hiring marketing is because they’re like, OK, we’re ready to grow, ready to be seen to be grown. So I feel like a lot of people might have the same –

[00:06:12.385] – Mark Donnigan

– Sure. –

[00:06:13.135] – Mariya Bentz

– Process. Right? So how do you approach making your first marketing hire and why they should not be from a big name company?

[00:06:22.085] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah, so let’s back up and let’s think about as the owner of a company, as the founder of the company, the CEO, again, whatever that title is, but as the person is driving the business. To be successful, that person needs to be in the field and needs to be in front of customers. In fact, I argue that and again, I pretty much exclusively work with B2B technology-focused startups. So, you know, so that’s my but, as you know, I would just encourage your listeners if you are not in that space and maybe you’re in a more traditional local business. Listen to what I’m saying, because almost everything maps to any context. So it doesn’t matter if you know, if you have just a local service business, if it’s a roofing company, if it’s plumbing company, auto repair shop, you know, or if it is a technology startup or a SaaS company. So the concepts map. So what’s super important is that the the owner of that business, the founder of the company, is in the field and is making those first sales. Now, that’s generally happening already because, you know, they they own it. They know the most. They’re the ones that created the product, created the business. So they’re out there talking. Right? So that’s kind of already happening. But what’s really important is to realize that, first of all, you will have knowledge as the owner, the founder, the business about the market, about the ecosystem, certainly about your product, that just hiring somebody from the outside and having them drop into your business that they’re not necessarily going to have. And so now so. So what does that mean? Does that mean that, you know, you need to try and promote from within or maybe you need to, you know, is the founder kind of take on the marketing role and all that? No, it doesn’t. But it’s really important to understand that your job, especially in the early days, is to transfer that knowledge now where it’s possible to bring someone in who already has some ecosystem experience. That is best. And I have found that, if I had to look at two candidates. So let’s just say candidate A, you know, they have a four year marketing degree, they have eight years of experience. You know, they graduate from college, immediately, went into a marketing role. They’ve they’ve grown and progressed. And so on paper, I say, wow, this this is good. This is someone who’s really wow, I’m really excited to talk to this person. Person, candidate B, but candidate A, came from a different industry, you know, so and maybe technology. OK, and you’re a local business. Let’s just say, just a discussion. But they don’t know your business. They don’t know that industry, et cetera. But a great marketer, they clearly have marketing chops, as we would say, marketing skills. Candidate B, maybe doesn’t have a marketing degree? Maybe, you know, maybe they also have eight, ten, maybe even have a little more experience, but they’ve kind of been sales and marketing and, you know, but they but they, you know, most recently been in marketing. So, they have some skills, OK, they understand it, but they’re from your industry. I would take candidate B, almost every time without even having to think twice. Because the the danger is, is that candidate A, and this is where I get into, you know, what you said up there was why you shouldn’t hire someone from kind of a big name company. It feels really good. It sort of strokes our ego to say, oh, I just got someone from and fill in the blank. You know, for all of our businesses, there’s somebody, there’s some competitor. There’s somebody where, you know, wow, if I could get someone to work there, that would be amazing. It’s an ego stroke, most of the time. It’s a very poor indicator of success, because what what we don’t realize is that person was in a much larger structure, that person was so far removed from the plan that they just purely executed. Now, they could have executed very well. They may be very deep in a particular area of of experience that could be useful to us. But the problem is, is that we’re hiring our first marketing hire. We need someone to even put a plan together. And that person was so far removed that they never had to make a plan. They just simply had to execute. And so you end up in a situation where, you know, let’s just just again, for sake of argument, maybe it’s someone who comes out of a demand gen function, you know, so demand generation, OK? And they come from some hot, you know, SaaS start up and and we’re just so excited to have them on board. Now they’re able to execute certain elements of the demand generation activity, if you will. But now what do I do? Demand Gen is just a small segment of what I need to do as a new startup or as a newer business or as someone who’s starting to grow. And in fact, maybe even those tactics that they implemented are completely wrong for me. And this is why, you know, you can see a couple patterns when you look at I like, you know, I call it sort of failure of marketing or companies that fail. And then invariably people say, oh, well, it’s because their marketing didn’t work. You know?

[00:12:21.745] – Mariya Bentz

Yeah, yeah.

[00:12:22.585] – Mark Donnigan

The assumption when you hear that is that they hired someone who wasn’t skilled or they, you know, or the team just wasn’t good. My observation is and I think this applies across business.

[00:12:35.185] – Mariya Bentz

I think so, yeah.

[00:12:36.445] – Mark Donnigan

Is it rarely is it a case that the people were not skilled? Or that the people were not, and I use air quotes, good? In some cases they were excellent. The problem was, was it was either the wrong players in in, you know, trying to play a role that, you know, so you got the quarterback trying to run the football or you got the quarterback on the front line, you know, like, yeah, it’s not going to end well. You know, but it could be you know, so you put Tom Brady on the front line and, you know, and it’s like an NFL, but it’s Tom Brady, you know, if he plays he plays his role. So, you know, to use a sports analogy. So the key is in making this first hire, and it’s tricky. It’s the actually one of the toughest roles to hire for that I have found. And we’ll go into some more detail about, you know, then what to look for and some ideas of how you find the right person. But I think I’ve explained the pitfalls of just going out and getting kind of a name brand and oh, wow, this is so amazing. They ran Demand Gen and, you know, fill in the blank. And we’re just this is exactly what we need. Well, maybe not.

[00:13:54.745] – Mariya Bentz

I know everything you’re saying that makes so much sense. I feel like I’ve never thought about it in this way before, but I’m just looking back on my experience. Even when I started working at certain companies and I’ll be completely honest, when I first started out in marketing, I was that person that just came out, you know, with marketing, you know, kind of going to school for it, all this stuff. And I got hired. I mean, I loved the company was great, but it was an industry that I knew nothing about. And it took me a while to even understand the industry because there’s things I’m like, well, you typically would do this, this and this, but not everything would work for that specific industry. So it took me a while to kind of, you know, get my head into the game because it was the industry itself is so different than what I learned.

[00:14:42.385] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah. What I you know, to unpack this just a little bit more and then and then we’ll try and get practical, you know, and give the listeners some meat as to OK, now what do I do? I understand the problem, but what do I do. But, you know, to unpack what we’re really saying is, is that building a marketing model that is built around, or a marketing plan, that’s built around a business model is where is where all this sort of, you know, goes off the road, you know, because because what we’re really talking about is if you’re bringing a playbook and I’m picking on SaaS, but, you know, SaaS right now is you know, there’s just a lot of companies. It’s a very you know, it’s very hot and and a lot of there’s a lot of hot companies. So probably a name brand marketers are going to come from a SaaS company. And there’s a very specific business model for SaaS and there’s a very specific marketing model for SaaS. And, you know, those those structures are again, you know, modeled around an existing business. It’s already running. That’s probably in high growth that, you know, everything is already there. It doesn’t mean that it’s not a challenge. By the way, I’m not denigrating, you know, the work in the effort and the challenge of either leading or working in a marketing team for a Saas company. But it’s different. Now, what we’re looking for is, we’re looking to build a playbook that’s outcome centric. So because, again, remember, we’re in a small company, you know, we’re talking about a small company. We’re talking about the emerging company or talking about a growth company. And I think there’s like four if we’re going to say, OK, so what does a marketing playbook look like? That’s outcome centric, not just around a business model. And I think there’s four, you know, steps or processes. I don’t really tend to think of things as linear, you know, like, OK, there’s step one, but there’s four that, you know, that come to mind and that I always kind of think about. So the first thing that we have to do is we have to come in and define the problem that our business solves. But but here’s the second part that’s more important than the problem definition, that’s easy, you know, so, you know, I have a company that does a particular service. OK, so the problem is, you know, people have a certain problem, my service addresses it. That’s what I do. But we have to succinctly describe it and then name the solution. And this is a part of what is called category design, because, you know, for example, if I’m a local business and I am, you know, let’s talk about a roofing company just as an example. So, you know, you can say, yeah, OK, so there’s kind of two types of roofing companies. There’s residential and there’s commercial. So, OK, which are you? You know, residential or commercial? Oh okay, residential. Oh, OK, cool. Well, you’re now competing with, you know, depending how big your city is. You know, where you live, you might be competing with hundreds of people who literally just have, you know, have a pickup truck and a sign on the door, you know, on magnetic sign on the side of the side of the door. And they’re in the roofing business. Well, you know, how do you differentiate? Well, so this is where, you know, you have to define you’re a roofer. So that’s quote, the problem. Hey, people need a roof. But this is where you have to succinctly describe. So it could be that you specialize only in shingles, maybe use. But, you know, I’m in Phoenix, Arizona. So, of course, we have, you know, different kind of roofing materials. But it could be that you’re the metal roof expert.

[00:18:36.645] – Mariya Bentz

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:18:36.645] – Mark Donnigan

And you do metal roofs, but and then you can even take it further. I like to use the analogy of of of CRM and marketing automation software again, since I spent a lot of time in in technology and SaaS, there are, you know, like literally thousands, tens of thousands of companies that are all trying to be Salesforce, you know.

[00:18:57.775] – Mariya Bentz

Yeah, yeah.

[00:18:58.805] – Mark Donnigan

And so how in the world do you compete in that, you know, compete with Salesforce if there’s literally thousands? And at the end of the day, a CRM is a CRM. I know I’m going to make any of your listeners who are who are building or working for CRM company angry. I apologize. But at the end of the day, what I mean is, is the basic functionalities are the same. There’s you know, the way they work is different. But at the end of the day, a CRM is a CRM. It is a commodity service and piece of software. But what if you built, instead of a CRM, you positioned yourself as the lead generation platform for medical offices?

[00:19:42.425] – Mariya Bentz


[00:19:42.425] – Mark Donnigan

Now it’s still a CRM, you know? Yes. That, you know, there’s going to be some customization and there’s going to be a lot of customization, actually, because you’re going to hone in. Now, people get really scared about this. Oh, but now my addressable market, you know, I cut my addressable market by 97 percent. Exactly. But what if you owned that three percent of the market? That’s yours. What if I could tell you that you could capture 60, even 70 percent of all the medical offices with your solution? Wouldn’t that be a heck of a lot more fun and easier to market and better economically for the business than if you’re just out there trying to sell everybody? So, this is really critical. And then they have to map the ecosystem. So, you know, the first is to find the problem and then but clearly, like describe what you do and build a category. The second is you have to map the ecosystem. We’ve talked about this. You have to know like the industry. No, you know, what’s the psyche of your buyers? What are they thinking? What does their buyer journey look like? Because if you’re not marketing appropriately to that, then, you know, it’s marketing is not going to be very successful.

[00:21:04.205] – Mariya Bentz

Yeah, yeah.

[00:21:04.865] – Mark Donnigan

You have to define the key activities. And then, of course, you know, you have to build the structure of the plan for, OK, now how do we execute?

[00:21:13.385] – Mariya Bentz

Yeah, yeah.

[00:21:13.385] – Mark Donnigan

You know, at the end of the day, you can strategize all day long, but you have to actually do stuff. But these are these are for, you know, parts of a playbook that is outcome centric, that, you know, if someone isn’t, has never had to go through those steps before, they may get there. They may figure it out in time, you know, just sort of just figuring it out, trial and error. But it’s much better to to hire someone who can come in and say, OK, you know, they may define them different. They may think I’m a little bit different, to what I just described. But at the end of the day, they’re going to cover those four bases and that’s what we need them to do.

[00:21:52.865] – Mariya Bentz

Yeah, I think I love these. I’m like looking back on my own business journey and I’ve gone through like I said, I started with marketing. And then I when I started doing my own thing, I kind of was doing all things, marketing then quickly realized, I want to be known and become an expert in something. I need to do just one thing. So that’s when we niched down to just websites. But now I’m kind of, in this in this state where it’s been, you know, kind of in my area. But I haven’t fully done anything about it yet by talking to you right now. I’m like, dang, it’s like another thing in my ear, but it’s really literally down to the type of client we work with, not just websites, not like what specific industry. Because even when like because I know for me and I’m talking to the listeners, I’m sure they’re thinking like, oh my gosh, it’s so scary because you immediately think of all the people that you’re not serving, all the money that you’re potentially losing.

[00:22:42.705] – Mark Donnigan

That’s right.

[00:22:43.235] – Mariya Bentz

But at the end of the day, it was such a blessing to niche down because then we became known as the website experts. Anyone needed a website? You know, we got so many more referrals because we were immediately thought of. And when you think of marketing, a lot of times, you know, people are like, oh, what’s that exactly? And like, you know, we weren’t top of mind. And then when we did niche down to websites, I mean, we became an expert in websites. So even our processes and systems are always easier to work with internally because we weren’t all over the place. Right?

[00:23:18.245] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah, that’s right. Your delivery becomes easier and simpler. Your message in terms of how you talk to the market is simpler. I mean, it really simplifies your life. And then it’s in simplicity that revenue can scale. In complexity, revenue can never scale. And this is what I think. This is just a macro take away, you know.

[00:23:44.865] – Mariya Bentz


[00:23:45.275] – Mark Donnigan

Is that point right there, is that as we simplify it actually enables our revenue to scale. It enables efficiencies. And then let’s also not forget that when, you know, there’s there’s revenue and there’s profitability. So it is possible that maybe our revenue dips, but our profitability just scales wildly. And at the end of the day, I care about how much money I get to keep and that’s what actually matters and that’s profitability. So, you know, there are some businesses where yeah, you know, by making some of these changes, our revenue will dip. You know our revenue will drop off. But what if our profitability doubles? Yeah.

[00:24:24.655] – Mariya Bentz

Yeah, yeah.

[00:24:25.255] – Mark Donnigan

Like you know, is that a bad thing? No, it’s a great thing.

[00:24:29.525] – Mariya Bentz

Yeah. No, I love it. So, kind of, to finish off the episode a little bit. Can we get into a little bit of the how’s. So people are like I know what to do now when I go into hiring this person –

[00:24:43.605] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah. So let’s so, yeah. Let’s get practical. So OK, so now, what do you do? Well there, let me first define. There are basically three to five roles. And again this is a little bit business model centric. So, you know, as I read through these, some of these, you’ll be like, yeah, I can’t imagine ever needing someone like that. OK, fine, that’s no problem. But there’s basically three to five, you know, functional capacities that if you cover these, then you’re going to do well. And the beautiful thing is a scaling a marketing team is  just saying, OK, which of these three to five functional areas do we need more capacity in? And so it makes it actually really easy to understand. So the first is and this is probably this is what I recommend, where every startup, founder, CEO, you know, business owner starts is you need to hire an architect, but you need to hire an architect who’s a doer, you know. And so going back to who your first marketing hire is, because I think we need to give, you know, give your listeners an answer to that, who it should be? It should be someone who was close to the plan in a in a larger marketing team who’s hungry to grow their career and to make impact. In other words, they they they they know that they can be in the driver’s seat, you know, and they’ve been close. They’ve been in some sort of a leadership role and maybe a 30 person, a 50 person, a 100 person marketing team. But they’re not the CMO. They’re not the VP of marketing, you know, but they’ve been there. They’ve been close to the plan and they’re ready to take a leadership role. So the reason why that’s a good hire is, is that they’re still a doer. OK, so here’s another thing is not just, you know, don’t hire someone out of kind of a big fancy company, but also don’t just hire another VP of marketing or CMO now, unless they have also come out of, and they’ve been in a two person marketing team or, you know, they’ve been one of two people, then then that’s fine. You know, because as we all know, titles are, you know, like if you’re in a 20 person company and you’re senior vice president, like, well, and –

[00:27:16.495] – Mariya Bentz

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:27:16.855] – Mark Donnigan

So I laugh about that even in my own, you know, various roles and positions, you know, like, oh, a title. It’s like, it doesn’t matter. So, yeah. So you want somebody who fulfills the architect role and the architect is really the the owner of the buyer’s journey and they are the ones who develop the the the activities and the framework for what these other individuals will be doing. Now the beautiful thing is, is that because the freelance community is so strong. You know, not only with covid, you have just a lot of people, a lot more people are sort of freelancing. But even, you know, previously, you can find visual artists. You don’t need to go hire a graphic designer. You know, you don’t need to go hire a writer. You don’t need to. And again, I’m talking an earlier growth stage company, a startup. In time, you do, because you want those capabilities in-house. You know, you need you want to have a consistent design voice, you know, and it’s a little bit harder when you’re working. But initially and this is often the role that I fulfill in my clients. So very often I’m coming in. In fact, not very often. Always. This is the job that I do. I am the architect that they’re saying, OK, Mark, we already have a marketing person. We have a couple marketers. They’re really good executors. But, you know, we could use some bigger picture help or in some cases. No, we don’t we don’t have those pieces. We need somebody. So we need someone like you to come and then to help put the right pieces in place. So the first is you have to have the architect, then you have to have a I call them, the visual artist. But most people would say the graphic designer. But you need someone who can craft story through images and this is important. So this isn’t just someone who knows Photoshop, OK? And this is the biggest pitfall that I see is. Yeah, well, you know, our office manager knows knows Photoshop, you know, dabbles a little Photoshop. OK, that’s cool. That’s great. But they probably can’t tell stories through images. So you need someone who can tell and with social media and with everything digital, in terms of just all marketing is digital. So, that’s why I don’t even call it digital marketing. It’s just marketing is digital. Images are crucial. We all know that. So then you need to have somebody who’s a video creator. It’s like a video artist because you today you have to tell stories through video. You know, this is where it doesn’t matter if you’re that CRM SaaS company or if you’re the roofing company or if you’re the dental office. In fact, I would even argue that if you’re the roofer and the dentist, video matters even more than it does for SaaS, although it’s kind of universal. But you need a video creator. You need a writer. OK, so and that’s a master storyteller using words, then this one’s interesting. You need someone now, not necessarily on day one, but at some point in the earlier development of the marketing or you need an analyst.

[00:30:44.795] – Mariya Bentz


[00:30:45.745] – Mark Donnigan

Now you say analysts. Well, this is the data person, because the beautiful thing about everything being digital, everything being online, is that we have such incredible exposure to information about and I don’t mean the person identifiable information. I mean like like like trends. Like click through rates. Like what? Like all of the data, you know, open rates on our emails. Just all of this information that if you have someone who is able to interpret it, who loves data, who’s an analyst, this is this is somebody who is an analyst first. OK? But every marketing team needs someone who can do this because what ends up happening is we have all this great information and nothing’s being done with it. And that’s true of many, many marketing orgs. And then, of course, you know, if you’re doing events now, obviously, you know, with covid and certainly, you know, this year and probably even moving into 2021, everything’s going to be virtual and everything’s virtual and all. But we are going to get back to events. And so for some businesses, events are important. And here’s a new one. And it’s something you know a lot about Mariya – audio.

[00:32:02.535] – Mariya Bentz


[00:32:02.535] – Mark Donnigan

You know, so podcasts. So I would say the events and the and the audio creator, you know, the events manager, audio creator are optional and it’s dependant on your business model. But no one is, you need an architect. This needs to be your first hire. Now, if the founder happens to come out of marketing or as a very strong marketing bent, then it’s very possible and it might even be best that the founder and initially fulfill this role and then bring in someone who’s probably more of the writer, the storyteller, you know, so someone who who maybe they came out of content marketing or something like that. Or, you know, who’s a little more senior, who’s developed the breadth of skills where, you know, they’ve worked with marketing automation platforms, data. They understand data. They can write, you know, they can they can work with designers because you can outsource design initially quite easily. But, you know, that’s how you build basically a five to a seven person marketing team that can can run circles around your sort of classic marketing group that usually has a bunch of generalists, you know, with one designer, one writer. And then there’s like five, six, seven, eight, 10, 12 people who are just kind of like generalists, you know, and they wonder why everybody is running around. Everybody’s busy, they’re all working, but like – nothing’s happening.

[00:33:42.012] – Mariya Bentz

Nothing’s happening?

[00:33:42.231] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah, exactly.

[00:33:42.255] – Mariya Bentz

So, I have a question for you, because I’ve noticed this with companies I’ve been working with, and I wanted to get your opinion on it. So I have noticed a lot of the times when people make their first marketing hire, they have all these roles, but they give all of these to just one single person. Right? I’m sure you’ve seen that. What’s your thoughts about that?

[00:34:08.535] – Mark Donnigan

Well, it doesn’t work. I mean, you know, again, I come back to a comment that I made earlier. You know, where a lot of times where there’s failure, and I use, again, the air quotes by marketing. It isn’t the person. Or wasn’t the person or the people. It was the strategy or it was the you know, you can even say more generically the expectations. Which of course, everything I think in life kind of comes back to expectation, like, oh, but we thought we expected big things from this person. Like, yeah, but but it was just the wrong approach, you know. And so you really do need and this is why the architect I even like to use the word conductor, because once the plan is in place, then there’s less about architecting and it’s more about conducting the orchestra. And the conductor needs to own the you know, they know how to speak to the ecosystem. They know how what their buyer journey looks like. They need to own that. And if they don’t own it, they’re not going to be able to direct the content creators. They’re not going to be able to direct the visual design. And that’s how you can end up with high quality marketing that misses the mark. You know, so so you look and you go, wow, that’s a great look. And, you know, the blog looks awesome. What’s a really well written case study? And yet it’s not working. So what happened? I mean, it was done well. That’s right. Because the people doing it were good. But the problem was, was the conductor maybe wasn’t good. Or the conductor was conducting the wrong piece of music. You know, people were out of sync with where the business needs to be.

[00:36:01.095] – Mariya Bentz

Yeah, I think this was very, very helpful. I think it’ll be maybe a good eye opener for a lot of people listening to this. Especially as they plan for the New Year. I think it’s such a time where people kind of like looking at their plans, what’s working, what’s not. So I think this would be a really, really good episode for people to listen to.

[00:36:20.745] – Mark Donnigan

Well, I have some resources on my website that that are all and by the way, I don’t believe in gating content. So, you know, so you don’t have to, like, give me your email address and all that. You know, I make my stuff just available. And, you know, invariably people want to learn more. So they contact me and, you know, and we talk. But yeah. So if it’s OK, I’d be –

[00:36:47.385] – Mariya Bentz


[00:36:49.365] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah, so. So my website is So just

[00:36:57.675] – Mariya Bentz


[00:36:57.675] – Mark Donnigan

And yeah there’s some, there’s some I think really helpful, you know, some blog plosts. And I have some presentations up that, you know, I think people will enjoy and find helpful.

[00:37:08.885] – Mariya Bentz

Awesome. I appreciate it. I’ll be sure to include that link and the podcast show notes for any of you who want to check it out. And then lastly, how can people work with you in 2021?

[00:37:19.875] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah, so I, I work as I said, what I do is I am that architect or conductor. So, you know, if anybody is interested in, you know, kind of saying, hey, you know, we could use some of that help on the architecture or, you know, or conducting our marketing team better, just, you know, go to my website again and reach out. And I’d be happy to have a conversation and see, you know, how I can help you more.

[00:37:49.125] – Mariya Bentz

Thank you so much for your time and your knowledge today. I really appreciate you sharing your being with us.

[00:37:54.435] – Mark Donnigan

Yeah. Thank you, Maria. It’s great to be on.

[00:38:00.345] – Mariya Bentz

If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please hit the subscribe button if you haven’t already and leave us a review with your main takeaways from this episode. But thanks again for joining me today and I will catch you next time on The Marketing Mindset podcast.

It's time for legendary marketing.

I knew that Mark could help us based on his background and high standing in the video streaming ecosystem, but I was not prepared for the depth of his contribution. Working closely with our marketing and sales leadership, Mark expertly guided us in creating a new category called ‘Video Experience Automation Platform.’ This was a missing component to our previous efforts where we strived to clearly define how what we did was different and, better. As a scientist and technologist, it is rare to find a business and marketing leader with the command of a market and technology, which is why I can recommend Mark highly.

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Abdul Rehman
CEO & Co-Founder, SSIMWAVE

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